Friday, April 15, 2016

3D Printer Project - Complete.... Sort Of

So, this week, I finished up the 3D printer.  It's a FolgerTech Prusa i3 - not a bad little printer to put together.  There were a few issues along the way :

  1. The plastic parts broke when tightening - either it was weak, or I don't know my own strength
  2. One motor refused to run (the X axis), forcing me to procure a new one, which had to come from FolgerTech because I couldn't find one of the same dimensions anywhere else
  3. Bed leveling is nigh impossible, with the shorter springs and screws for attaching it to the acrylic frame

Aside from that, it went together fairly simply, and ran (at least once) :

I used the standard PLA test filament that came with the printer, and realized in the middle of the print that it was going to run out before it finished.  So, I grabbed the spool of ABS, and followed it through.  Not realizing I needed to increase the temperature, the joint between the two and also the ABS right after the PLA is weak, but that's my fault.  It still turned out :

So, I tried another print of the same part, using just the ABS.  I did not realize that Repetier-host (the software I am using on the Mac) will freeze hard if the screen saver kicks in.  It aborted in the middle, and the nozzle cooled while sitting right on the print, causing the plastic to curl around the nozzle and burn against it.

That part had progressed far enough along that it was still usable.  However, since that time, I failed for a day or two to get a good print.  After cleaning the nozzle again, I got one good print (a camera mount for the book scanner) :

Unfortunately, even with cleaning the nozzle, I have not been able to get a good print since then.  Very frustrating.  On top of that, one of the fan blades snapped, so the printer is now out of commission.  If I had done my math on that camera mount, it would have been great - but I needed it tilted at 60 degrees, not 30 degrees like I had printed.  Oh well!  You live and you learn!

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